Whether you’re selling your family dinghy, a large powerboat, or something in between, finalising the transfer of ownership will require some paperwork. Make sure you find out exactly what you will need ahead of time so you don’t hold up the final sale.

How to complete the sale of your boat: paperwork needed

To complete the sale of your boat, some paperwork is needed.


Selling a vessel


If you sell your vessel, you must complete and sign the Registered Owner section on the back of the vessel’s registration certificate, and give it to the buyer.

Bill Of Sale or Receipt for funds paid

The seller needs to provide a bill of sale or receipt for funds paid. Details of the buyer and value need to be shown on the paperwork to help prove payment for a private sale.

The bill of sale or receipt must include a description and hull identification number, purchase date, price, and the name and signature of the seller.

Brokers who are members of their state Boating Industry Association will provide extra paperwork to help protect the buyer and seller, typically a sales agreement showing the purchase and listed inventory, and act as the as conduit between parties. As goods are classified second hand there are no warranties offered by dealers. Buyer beware!

The buyer should always check with the Personal Property Securities Register for any finance owing.

Transferring registration


You need to transfer a vessel’s registration into your name when it comes into your possession, for example if you buy a vessel or inherit one.

State registration papers all contain the relevant fields for transfer including vessel name, length, manufacturer, material, registration number, length, Hull Identification Number (HIN) and the engine serial number (if inboard engine).

Fees apply to transfer vessel registration.

If you sell your vessel, you’ll need to fill out the Notice of Disposal on the boat’s registration and send it to Roads and Maritime, or your relevant state department, within 21 days of the sale.

NB. not all vessels need to be registered.

Vessels that must be registered:

The following vessels must be registered with Roads and Maritime (NSW) when occupying NSW navigable waters:
• Power-driven vessels that are powered by an engine with a power rating of 4.0 kilowatts or more (greater than 5 horsepower)
• Any power-driven or sailing vessel of 5.5 metres or longer
• Every vessel subject to a mooring licence (including marina berths)
• Personal watercraft (PWC)

Unregistered boats will have some form of identification – sailing boats have sail numbers, inflatable dinghies have a serial number.

Other Paperwork


Warranty documentation and maintenance records should also be handed over at the time of sale. And once the deal is final, make sure you cancel your insurance.

With a bit of planning and organisation, passing papers to complete a boat sale is only slightly more than a formality. Best of all, it is the last step before your final handshake.

Document Checklist
NOTE: The following list is intended as a general guide and may not include every document for your specific situation.

  • Boat Sales Documents Required To Complete The Boat Sale

  • Basic boat sales document: all should be notarised

  • Bill of Sale

  • Proof of loan repayment (if appropriate)


Courtesy documents:

  • Warranty documentation

  • Maintenance records


After the sale:

  • Cancel insurance

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